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Byron Shire
October 8, 2022

Ding, Dong… could ‘that’ sculpture soon be dead?

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The infamous ‘Disco Dong’ sculpture on the Bayshore Drive roundabout could be removed by Byron Council within months after an investigation found ‘structural and non-structural’ safety issues.

Councillors will vote on decommissioning the sculpture at its August 22 meeting, following reports that people have been climbing the structure and stopping in dangerous spots to take pictures.  

A council report noted that pieces of the structure had been found on the ground.

An Aboriginal flag hangs from the Bayshore Drive roundabout. Photo Jeff ‘La Dame Fer’ Dawson.

The report also noted that a structural investigation had been undertaken on July 16 at a cost of $8,000.

It found there was ‘a risk of serious personal injury being sustained by a member of the public due to climbing and falling from the sculpture’.

Added to this were a number of structural flaws and ‘the eventual risk of the sculpture’s structural integrity being compromised’.

In the past month activists have climbed the structure on a number of occasions to hang Extinction Rebellion banners, Aboriginal flags and a toy koala.   

Staff estimated the cost of decommissioning the sculpture at between $11,000 and $13,000. 

Should the sculpture be removed to storage in a state that would allow reconstruction at a later date, the cost of decommissioning would increase to between $16,000 and $20,000. 

The Public Art Panel, at a meeting on June 26, recommended that additional money be spent on ‘finishing’ the sculpture.

The estimated cost of this enterprise, including contingencies, is $35,500.

The minutes from the panel’s most recent meeting on August 5 have not been released by council.

There have been repeated calls from members of the community to remove the sculpture since it was erected in December last year.

This includes at least two online petitions, each of which received more than a thousand signatures.

Council’s art panel has repeatedly argued that the artist responsible, Corey Thomas, should be given the time and resources to finish the job.

It says Mr Thomas was given an unrealistic deadline, and was subjected to repeated taunts and abuse from passing motorists as he worked on the sculpture.

 


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22 COMMENTS

  1. Council should sell the birds for $10 a pop?? Who wouldnt want one as a momento. That might pay for the removal cost.
    Win win win

  2. DISMANTLE, SELL INDIVIDUAL BIRDS to recoup some costs for decommissioning, PLANT A TREE INSTEAD and please PLEASE, for safety’s sake, if going the landscape route, DO NOT plant species that grow to obstruct the view of motorists using the roundabout.

    • Spot on. Not obstructive and non-reflective. The current ‘art’ is dangerous as it reflects the sun into drivers’ eyes.

  3. Additionally the full cost on the life of the structure has never been considered. Council stated it cost $45,000 for road closures and works to do one maintenance to remove vines, times once a month, times 20 years (if the corrosion of the bare aluminum doesn’t see it structurally condemned before then) = aprox $1M. Was at the industrial estate a few days ago, it still looks like crap to me

  4. That pile of scrap metal is not only an eyesore but a public safety issue.
    In the big winds of the past few days it has been swaying around dangerously so that many of the birds could have taken flight

  5. Please get rid of this eye sore that has no significance to Byron, has been a huge cost to rate payers and detrimental to the council for many reasons. Please plant some trees and fix the pot holes. Its quite simple a fix just start listening to your residents.

  6. Get rid of the stupid damn thing. It’s had as much
    public discussion as the question ‘Is Elvis Still
    Alive’?

  7. one bird for me2 maybe even 2! be creative council and take on this suggestion – have the birds in a pile at the council chamber for $10 – cash only – and then donate the lot to a great local charity – or help the homeless etc

  8. When the S94 Contributions Plan for public art was set up I supported it (as a Councillor). I assumed it would be used for supporting numerous struggling artists – maybe a few hundred dollars here, a thousand there. Instead the money gets pissed up against the wall on a hideous, pretentious fabrication.

  9. Once the thing is gone having a bird could be quite valuable in years to come. Now that would be art. hmmmm!!! Will they start disappearing off the thing?

  10. An event to sell the birds..a celebration of its removal but also to give some respect back to the artist would be a good ending to this project.
    But it is important that something simpler that reflects our natural environment be put in its place, rather than a shiny, jagged piece that we have now…

  11. I’d like to know who was on the panel that chose this sculpture. Clearly no architects, engineers or artists. From the sketch it’s apparent this “lighthouse void” is an impossible build. This sculpture was never going to work. I feel for the artist. They submitted an idea, but whoever chose this idea should have consulted professionals before the build ever began.

  12. After all the birds have been sold (great idea!), why not recycle the rest to the metal collectors! I am sure they would give council some money for it. Recycling is a real Byron “thing” after all!

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